Oregon has become the first US state to pass laws to rid itself of coal, committing to eliminate the use of coal-fired power by 2035 and to double the amount of renewable energy in the state by 2040.
Legislation passed by the state’s assembly, which will need to be signed into law by Governor Kate Brown, will transition Oregon away from coal, which currently provides around a third of the state’s electricity supply.
At the same time, the state will also require its two largest utilities to increase their share of clean energy, such as solar and wind, to 50% by 2040. Combined with Oregon’s current hydroelectric output, the state will be overwhelmingly powered by low-carbon alternatives to fossil fuels.
Climate campaigners said the legislation was a landmark moment and showed that the US was moving rapidly towards renewables, despite the temporary block placed by the supreme court on the Obama administration’s clean power plan.
“This historic step forward is the most significant legislative action the US has taken since the Paris climate agreement,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “Oregon’s climate leadership is an example for states across the country.”
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